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Knowing whether Great Pyrenees are protective of their owners is important information to keep in mind, especially if you are considering getting one. 

Understanding Livestock Guardians Better 

Livestock guardians are often deeply misunderstood.

 Behavior tendencies such as resource guarding, dog-to-dog aggression, territorial aggression and protective aggression are often misunderstood. 

These dogs have been selectively bred to guard livestock animals such as cattle and sheep from potential predators. 

These protective instincts are strongly ingrained courtesy of several centuries of selective breeding.

When there are no sheep or cattle to guard, these dogs may feel compelled to guard their homes and families, responding to any perceived "threats."

This can turn problematic though when this chore is taken too seriously, leading to troublesome behaviors such as barking at guests and not letting them approach. 


Strongly Ingrained Instincts

Great Pyrenees are inclined to acting protective of their properties and their people. 

This can be a good thing if you want a dog who will alert you when somebody enters your premises, but can soon turn problematic if you allow this behavior to get out of hand.

It's best if you can work with your guardian from an early age getting him used to having visitors into your home and yard.

Make sure to expose your livestock guardian puppy during the critical socialization stage to as many people of different ages, skin color and looks as possible, trying to cover all basis.

Also, don't forget to expose your puppy to all the weird things people may do that may raise his suspicious flag.

When you have guests over, the delivery guy or when you meet people on walks, feed your puppy all his favorite goodies to let him know that it's all good and that it's actually fantastic to have people approach and come over to visit.

Let him also know that you'll take charge of the door deciding who enters or not, and that you're aware of your surroundings. 

Chances are, if you convince him that you're attentive, confident and on top of things, he may finally decide to punch out his timecard and finally relax (albeit he'll still sleep with an eye open, so to say)!

Strong Perceptions of Threats

It can be said that livestock guardians, such as the Great Pyrenees, tend to perceive threats at a much lower threshold compared to other dogs bred to be companions. 

Unlike other dogs, Great Pyrenees may therefore take a more proactive approach when they sense a threat to their families. 

This may lead to barking, growling, lunging and even threatening to bite anybody approaching. 

While these behaviors are mostly ritualized forms of aggression, Pry may progress to biting if their threats aren't taken seriously.

It can be said that some livestock guardians may never come to fully trust anybody entering the home and will remain suspicious, no matter how much you try to convince them otherwise.  

How to Make a Great Pyrenees Less Protective of Owners

As seen, those protective instincts are strong and ingrained, and therefore may be difficult to totally eradicate.

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There is really not much that can be done against instincts, but you can take some steps to prevent incidents from happening. 

Importance of Early Socialization 

It cannot be emphasized enough that if you're planning to keep your Pry as a pet rather than a working livestock guardian, you will need to put a strong emphasis on socialization.

Starting from a young age and onwards, your Pry will need to be taught to be accepting any guests approaching your home. 

This would entail creating positive associations with guests and people approaching you on walks by feeding your Pry several treats in a row so to create positive associations with their approach and entrance in the home. 

It may also help feeding the puppy treats when guests get up to use the restroom or move to a table or when they get up to leave.

Muzzle Train Your Pry 

It's imperative that you make safety your top priority since you don't want your Great Pyrenees to bite. 

It's therefore fundamental muzzle training your Pry for safety, using a strong muzzle that prevents biting.

Examples of bite-proof muzzles for aggressive dogs are wire basket muzzles from Dean and Tyler and some varieties of Jafco muzzles.

Prevent Rehearsal of Problematic Behaviors

It's important to point out that, just because your dog wears a muzzle, he shouldn't be exposed to full intensity situations which allows his to rehearse problematic behaviors such as barking, growling and threatening to bite. 

Always keep an eye on his body language and don't allow him to rehearse problematic behaviors which put roots and strengthen. 

This is because every time your Great Pyrenees barks, growls or threatens to bite, he'll believe that his behavior sends people away, or at least, prevents them from approaching any further, which makes it more likely for him to repeat these behaviors in the future. 

Keep Your Guests Safe

It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of keeping your guests safe.

If your Pry has manifested concerning protective instincts towards guests, it's best to lock him away when you have visitors. 

This is for safety and to prevent rehearsal of problematic guarding behaviors.  

Work Along With a Professional

When it comes to a  Great Pyrenees who is acting protective of the owners, it's important to therefore nip the behavior in the bud before it becomes more and more entrenched and ingrained. 

Dog behavior professionals such as Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists or board-certified veterinary behaviorists are optimal sources. 

Avoid Harsh Methods

 It may be tempting to use harsh methods such as jerking the leash when your Pry reacts negatively to people approaching, but this risks making matters even worse. 

Now, on top of being suspicious of people approaching you are convincing him even more that people are bad because he receives a leash jerk upon spotting them. 

Pry are rather sensitive dogs. Rather than using correction, you'll need to establish a stronger foundation of trust and confidence.

You can help them a lot by reducing the amount of stressors in their lives as these dogs thrive on stability, predictability and routines. 

The Importance of Early Intervention

It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of intervening early at the first manifestations of troublesome behaviors. 

For example, in the case of a Great Pyrenees who starts barking when people approach the owner at 6 months, things can rapidly worse once the Pry matures. 

So early intervention is paramount. It's must easier to nip a behavior in the bud, rather than deal with a deeply entrenched behavior with a long history of rehearsal. 

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